A life well-lived
William Jacob Young, was the second son born to Clarence and Florence Young in what is now affectionately known as "the roaring twenties." Bill lived for almost 94 years before dying happily in the arms of his three girls during the worldwide covid pandemic late in the fall of 2020. Imagine the cultural changes that he experienced. When Bill was born cars were still a novelty, talking films and television became a reality, watching the first man land on the moon changed forever how mankind thought of themselves. Food became a form of entertainment rather than just a means of sustenance, computers replaced the manual methods of people, and the world-wideweb connected us and made the impossible seem probable, all during the lifetime of William Young. The 1920's was the decade of the stock market boom, and the rise of jazz and the big-band era – two passions Dad loved his entire life. Day trading on the stock market, and dancing. Both of these pastimes led him to living a life full of love and prosperity. He was always ready to give anyone who would listen a "tip" on the latest penny stock. Investing his hard-earned money allowed him the comforts he deserved in his retirement. His love of dancing allowed him the opportunity to ask Shirley Seip out dancing at the Summer Gardens in the Kitchener Auditorium. It was that decision that started a lifelong love & marriage of 62 years.
The early years
It wasn't unusual in the 1940's to leave formal education for the school of hard knocks. At the age of 15 Bill left school to take his first job at Cluett Peabody where his father worked as a Superintendent of the plant. Little did he know then that he would work for that same company for 48 years until he retired at the age of 63, in 1990 as a Sales Representative selling wholesale to the large retailers out of their head office in Toronto. His job as "mail boy" helped him develop the character traits needed to succeed in business and in life. The family name depended on him doing a good job, so he made sure he lived up to the expectations his father had set for him. When WW II was underway in 1943 Dad was still under the age required to join the full army, so our Canadian government had started what was called the Canadian Technical Training Corps (CTTC) for boys 16 and 17 to train as apprentice boy soldiers. Dad enlisted, and was sent to British Columbia after his initial training to prepare for deployment to Japan. Fortunately the war ended without deployment, but he left that training in the army with a strong sense of discipline, commitment, and hard work. He returned to Cluett Peabody and was given an opportunity to join the "sales" team where he stayed until 1990. Bill applied those lessons he learned at work and in the army to his own family. Bill and Shirley settled in Hamilton to raise their family. They came to Hamilton from Ajax with three boys and a boxer dog, and added three more girls to the mix by 1962. Although the house seemed to be bursting at the seams with activity all the time, none of us minded at all.
Building his legacy
By 1957 life's opportunities for Bill and his family were abundant. There was time outside of work to be filled with leisure and sporting activities, community organizations, such as the Sertoma Club, the Probus Club, and for developing neighbourhood friendships that would form the backbone of Bill's life experiences. Our Dad had a great warm laugh, loved to play practical jokes, and have lighthearted fun. The young couples in the new neighbourhood formed a bridge club that lasted almost 50 years. They all joined Glendale Golf & Country Club in 1960, learned to curl, golf, and socialize together. They took family vacations together heading up to Clear Lake. They would rent all of the "Byways Cottages" for their respective families for two weeks each summer, creating strong bonds of friendships between the families that still exist today. Bill was always ready to dig in and help out whenever the opportunity arose. He volunteered for years and dressed as "Jiminy Cricket" at the annual fireworks at Civic Stadium, he volunteered at the Brier and World Curling Championships held at Copps Coliseum, and one of the predecessors to the Grand Slam of Curling events held at his cherished club, and he helped the junior curlers break a Guinness World Book of Records for the longest curling game (60) hours. He helped with the family curling leagues, and the annual Christmas Turkey Roll at what became his home away from home "Glendale." But none of this took priority over Bill spending time with his children and inspiring and encouraging them to believe in themselves, and to follow their dreams. As much time was spent behind the glass watching his children compete in curling as he spent on the ice. No matter how busy he was at work he would make sure to make it to the school gym on time to cheer on his kids playing volleyball or basketball, or to ensure that his sons made it to their Sea Cadets, their navel reserve at HMCS Star, or the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Bugle Band. He was pretty handy as well; he built the layout for a train set for his boys in the basement, and progressed to building an extension on the family home as a centennial project so the family could stay living on Southwood Drive as they grew up. Dad was a man with strong moral principles, he demonstrated for each of us at every opportunity his sense of honesty, commitment, hard work, and the need to take full responsibility for your actions. Our father demanded that we adhere to the same moral value system if we wanted to live under his roof. He balanced his demanding nature and his high expectations, with fairness, equality (long before equal rights for men and women existed in most homes) and great generosity. If you borrowed 25 cents from him, he would gladly give it, and then ask immediately how and when you intended to repay the debt. He held you to your word, or else…
His retirement years
After 48 years of dressing in the latest styles and servicing the menswear business's all over southern Ontario, the Company and Bill decided it was time to retire, quit the daily commute to Toronto, and head to the cozy nook room, to play gin rummy with all of his golf and curling buddies. He was leaving behind many of his best friends at the Arrow Shirt company. Norm Rippon, Doreen Jones, Vern Close and all the others continued to stay in touch, but the one friendship that will forever be cherished by our family is the one Norm and my Dad shared, and their Sunday morning ritual which lasted for thirty years following Dad's retirement. In the later years Dad looked so forward to the call at 10 am from Norm – it was his church so to speak. Although Mom was a little leery at first about Dad retiring and perhaps infringing on her domain she quickly learned that Dad headed out each week day to the club, to shower, shave, play cards and eat lunch before coming home for dinner. He did get to spend more time with Mom and they adapted quite well to the transition. They'd go to the racetrack to watch and bet on the harness racing at Flamborough Downs or Mohawk Raceway. They loved to go out to dinner. Dad and Mom spent many Friday evenings at one of their favourite dining spots: either Shakespeares, the Trocadero, the Black Forest Inn, or the Aquarium. They would get together with Marg and Roy, or Betty and Cliff, and play cards, or just sit and have some drinks and enjoy each other's company. Dad and Mom were such gracious and generous hosts they held all of the family get togethers at their home through until Dad made the move at the age of 90 to Wentworth Heights. In particular Christmas Eve was a celebration like no other at Mom & Dad's home. It started early and carried on into the wee hours of Christmas morning, and included not only our family, but our friends and neighbours as well. Those nostalgic memories will never be forgotten.
It took much coaxing and convincing but finally Dad realized that the family home although adored by all, was too much for Billy and the rest of the kids to help maintain and was very isolating for Dad. It was finally time to say goodbye to Southwood Drive. This final chapter of Dad's life brought out the best in him. He mellowed, allowed his feelings to show, and he truly appreciated the new friendships and the opportunity to engage in a new social realm. It was just shy of four years that he called Williamsburg his "home", but he had grown very attached to the comfort of new friends, and the wonderful care he was afforded at The Village of Wentworth Heights. Not surprising, it didn't take too long before it was well known that the dinner table that was the most fun was "Bill Young's" table. Wine glasses filled to the brim (literally), lots of laughter, and great conversation that would last well past the supper hour, was the order of each evening. Then Covid struck, our world and Dad's as he knew it changed dramatically. We thought we made it through the last eight months personally unscathed, but unfortunately Bill's life became isolated once again, and he yearned for the constant companionship of his family and his caregiver's time to counter-balance the loneliness he felt. We are so thankful for Rosa, and Shirley and all of those who looked after our father so well, with the same love and attention as we would have given him ourselves. Thanks to all who allowed Dad to die with his children and grandchildren by his side. One big happy family right to the end. Forever in our hearts and imprinted in our souls, we all love you Bill, Dad and Grandpa.
Bill is predeceased by his beautiful wife Shirley (nee Seip) and is survived by their six children, Graham (Karen deceased), Stephen (Chris), Bill (Beth), Kathy (Rick), Barb "Bubby" (Rob), and Nancy (Gerard). Seven grandchildren, Phillip (Becky), Adam, Victoria (Troy), Heather (David), Morgan, Katelyn, and Mitchell. Seven great-grandchildren, Keelyn, William, Abby, Brooklyn, Kane, Sage and Nash. Dad left a lasting legacy filled with memories to last a lifetime – we will miss you deeply, all our love, Dad, Papa, and Great-Grandpa.
Private family services will be held on Saturday November 28, 2020 in person (by invitation only – limit 50 people) commencing at 12:30 p.m. at Bay Gardens Funeral Home – William J Markey Chapel, 947 Rymal Road East, Hamilton, ON L8W 3M2, immediately followed by interment in the "Young" family plot at White Chapel Memorial Gardens, 1895 Main Street W., Hamilton L8S 1J2. The family service and "Celebration of William's life" will also be "live-streamed" through the Bay Gardens Funeral Home website on: Saturday November 28, at 12:30 p.m. www.baygardens.ca or directly through: http://www.lucidfilms. live/. In lieu of any flowers, donations in his honour can be made to the Bob Kemp Hospice, or a charity of your choice
. On-line condolences through www.baygardens.ca